One of the issues CFROG has been pointing out to our local planning department and Board of Supervisors since 2013 is now highlighted by an editorial and front page story in todays VC Star. The agencies tasked with oil and gas oversight at the local and state levels are failing in their duty, and that fact needs to be considered when Ventura County approves new oil drilling or renews existing permits. (Photo: Los Padres ForestWatch, Santa Paula Canyon, Drill Pad 7)
In recent weeks CFROG and partners Los Padres ForestWatch and Center for Biological Diversity filed a complaint with Ventura County Planning over their failure to enforce permit conditions for an oil field in Santa Paula Canyon behind Thomas Aquinas College. The area burned during the Thomas Fire and storm predictions in January showed the serious potential of debris flow. The permit condition required the County to order the oil company to shut down the field during the duration of the storm as a public safety precaution. The county did nothing and when they were asked by the press about our complaint a manager in the planning department said the complaint was baseless. CFROG applauds Ventura County Public Works for stating that they will work to enforce the permit condition in the future, but we feel this further highlights the issue of overlapping jurisdictions leading to gaps in oversight and regulatory enforcement.
CFROG major court win in November is named and the fact that in that judgement the judge called out a county employee as having "“considerable antipathy” toward both the environmental process “and the concerns of local residents" demonstrates how vital these types of action and court wins are.
CFROG agrees with the VC Star Editorial that calls this a "cavalier" approach to public safety, and the public expects more from our local land use oversight agency. Read that Full Editorial HERE.
And we see the same approach in the state oil and gas regulatory agency called "DOGGR"...
On the cover of today's VC Star is a CalMatters story about the fact that the oil and gas regulatory agency is underfunded, and how our state legislators wants to see results if they are given more money. California still does not charge the oil companies a severance tax for each barrel extracted, only a small 14 cent fee that funds the oversight agency.
The agency has been riddled with problems for years, recently found to have allowed oil companies to inject oil field waste into underground aquifers that were protected under the Safe Drinking Water Act - which occurred in the Sespe Oil Field behind Fillmore. Yesterday, March 6 about 75 people from Fillmore gathered at the Active Adult Center on Santa Clara street to write letters to the heads of the State Water Board and LA Regional Water Board to let them know DOGGR's plan to sign off on expanded injection near their source of drinking water is unacceptable.
Photo: March 6 in Fillmore - over 70 residents attend meeting and write letters to Protect Fillmore's Water from expanded oil waste dumping in the Sespe.
Help CFROG continue to shed light on these issues and defend our communities and wild places from the impacts of oil drilling.